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TIGHT

Readers will be rooting for Bryan to make the right choices even as they understand the wrong ones.

A loner navigates a dangerous relationship.

Bryan is a quiet, Afro–Puerto Rican sixth-grader living in Brooklyn. He enjoys comic books, video games, and keeping to himself. Pa, recently released from prison, and Bryan’s sister, Ava, encourage him to be tough. Ava mocks him for being a “momma’s boy,” and Pa tells him it’s better to be feared than liked. Ma, however, encourages Bryan to use his brains instead of his fists. Ma introduces Bryan to Mike, a slightly older black boy who uses the services at the community center where Ma works; she says he “seems nice” and “gets good grades,” and Bryan needs a friend. Soon Mike and Bryan become so close that they say they’re brothers—but Mike isn’t as good as Ma and others think. Bryan gets swept up in Mike’s influence and begins to behave badly in small ways, throwing rocks at cars from rooftops and practicing his mother’s handwriting so he can forge excuses from school. After Pa violates his parole and is arrested again, Bryan’s behavior escalates, including cutting class and hopping onto moving trains. Through Bryan’s believable, emotionally honest first-person narration, Maldonado skillfully shows a boy trying to navigate parental desires and the societal expectations of his Brooklyn neighborhood while trying to figure himself out.

Readers will be rooting for Bryan to make the right choices even as they understand the wrong ones. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4055-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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